Airports Commission orders air quality assessment

Seeks views on new evidence relating to the air quality assessment of the 3 short-listed options for additional airport capacity

The Airports Commission is seeking views on new evidence relating to the air quality assessment of the three short-listed options for additional airport capacity.

It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk, as the commission perhaps didn’t investigate this correctly.

Recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2.

Heathrow regularly breaches air quality limits.

Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, but expanding to the size of Heathrow would risk breaching air quality limits.

The Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

The evidence is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the public.

The runway decision was anticipated during June as Howard Davies, the head of the Commission, is to become Chairman of RBS on 1st September. He is scheduled to join the RBS board at the end of June.

Speculation abounds that he was given the Airports Commission job by George Osborne and now he is getting his reward.

If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult.

Other possible challenges include just how much consideration was given to each of the fifty or so proposals that were given.

Internet links

Airports Commission